Winning a California Championship All Around Champion award shows your strong desire to show. Which is your favorite class for you and your horse and why is it your favorite?
I showed Suddenly Acquited aka Quittles at the California Championships. I haven’t had Quit very long and 2023 is out first year showing together. My trainer Melissa Zanetti is putting the finishing touches on him for me in Trail and Western Riding so I haven’t shown in those classes with him yet. He has been a game competitor in the classes we have shown in but we don’t know each other well enough yet to have a favorite class but I am really looking forward to showing in Trail again.
What challenges did you face in winning a CA Championship All Around Champion award with your horse – or was it easy to win? What advice could you give to other exhibitors hoping to win this prestigious award?
Well…I leased my former horse Eli Investing Wisely aka Peyton during Covid. He had a very successful couple of years with youth rider Colbi Jacobs winning NSBA World Championships and great placings at the AQHYA World shows. I vicariously enjoyed watching Colbi and P do so well together but I missed my own time with him. I was very excited to get back into showing again with this amazing athlete. Almost immediately after I got him back, he sustained an injury while playing and was laid up for 6 long months. We had just gotten the release from the vet to go back to work when Peyton died suddenly of complications with colic surgery. That was a tough reality and I thought that maybe I was done with horses because I considered him my forever horse. There just were not enough superlatives to describe him. I felt he was irreplaceable. But Melissa came to me with the idea that Quit might be the perfect next chapter for me. Coincidently, Quit was owned by Emily Hudson who I had purchased Peyton from. Quittles is a wonderful horse as well. Like P in a lot of ways. I have only been able to ride him infrequently since I bought him and California Championships was only our fourth show together. I am elated to have yet another wonderful horse pal and couldn’t be more excited about our future together.
Long story short, geography, scheduling conflicts and a tragedy all conspired to make this a challenging endeavor. There was nothing easy about it.
As for advice, I might offer that there is a lot of adversity in life that might keep us from actualizing our dreams. I know that my amazing trainer, the Zanetti-o’s and a new horse pal helped me get past a lot. Never give up on your dreams. There is a posse of horsey folk out there for you and they will help you sort it all out.
Sidebar here. I am honored to accept the Select All Around award and to be featured here but there was another rider at the California Championships who brought her A-game, as she always does, won a ton in everything but had commitments that didn’t allow her to show the second day of the show. Kim Portnoy, this article really should have been about you.
How did you practice and prepare to show in the CA Championship show? How often and what did you do (ie: patterns, lots of ride time, go out on the trail – or have more lessons with the trainer?)
Between my schedule and Zanetti Performance Horses being at shows a good deal, it was a challenge to get time to ride and prepare. Additionally, Quit lives in Northern California and I live in Southern California now. Melissa’s program is mostly the same for her all around horses with some minor individual differences so we already had the owners manual and that allowed us to make the best of our limited trips north. We had to use the time when we met up at shows to do some work as well. Nothing like learning on the fly. Quit is just such a smart, good minded and honest guy and that makes him an amazing collaborator. On top of that he is inherently an easy horse at shows. Quittles likes to keep things short and sweet so he can go back to the barn and take a nap. He is such a special boy and a true character.
What is a special memory you have from the California Championship show? Tell us why this is special and what you’d like to see added for next year.
My most special memory dates back to 2018. That show was actually one of the highlights of my riding career. No Good Principles and I had an epic show winning multiple classes, a Circuit Championship and California Championships in Amateur L1Trail, Horsemanship and a Reserve in Western Pleasure as well as the Amateur L1 All Around Award.
This year, I was excited to have good performances with my new pony Quittles and I was very happy to re-connect again with my barn family many of whom I haven’t seen in way too long and have some fun. I also met up with Zanetti-o Gina Maekawa of Gina Mae Photography for a great photo shoot to celebrate Quittles finishing his Open AQHA Championship.
How long have you been showing and what is your next goal?
My family had a ranch when I was a kid. I come from a long line of horse traders so we always had a few horses around. I started showing very late. I had a couple of youth years but showed in mostly open shows. I stopped riding when I was 18 and didn’t ride again until I got No Good Principles aka Sam in 2016. Sammy was a Trail specialist and Melissa rode him most of that year to add more all around events to his repertoire. In 2017, Sammy and I hit the ground running and won the Year End PCQHA Amateur L1 All Around award. I got my second horse, Eli Investing Wisely aka Peyton, in 2018. In 2019 P and I won the Year End PCQHA Amateur L1 All Around trophy again. I was hoping to have that experience with Quit as well.
My goal is to ride and show for as long as I can, to savor all the memorable experiences in the saddle, enjoy time with the wonderful people I meet along the way and to be very grateful for all our successes and lessons we learn. In 2024, I do want celebrate the L1 Championships West return to Las Vegas and eventually have a Select World, NSBA World and/or Congress experience with Quit. And I want finish an Amateur AQHA Championship on him.